345 Wooster Avenue sat on the edge of downtown San José, California. Framed by a white picket fence, a cement porch and a driveway that led around to the backhouse. Inside was the scent of homemade tortillas, Papa sitting on his recliner and Nana sitting at the head of the dining room table reading a book.
“Nana’s house was my sanctuary and a sea filled with many loving memories. Her roses in the backyard gave life to the hummingbirds who would stop by and the blackberry tree gave all the grandchildren a mountain to climb.”
The back house gave me eight years of downtown San José adventure. Holidays at Nana’s house were like high-end luxuries, the best food, music, dance and drama. Often exceeding capacity of the living room, the sea of wrapping paper left on the floor at Christmas gave everyone a chance to laugh and play in.
The longing for Nana’s house will never go away. I do not want these memories to ever go away. I often laughed and played at Nana’s house, but I also felt angry and sad. The last time Nana’s house was at capacity was when she passed away. Everyone was there. For the first time in my life I had felt nothing at Nana’s house. I so badly wanted her back. Although it took several years for me to accept the loss, it was my memories of Nana’s house that reminded me that I’ve had her with me all along.
“I hope to pass on the feeling of Nana’s house. A sense of security where you can close your eyes, imagine Grandpa on the recliner, Tia Gloria watching TV with Ricky. My Nana at the stove making tortillas and my mom standing next to her asking Nana to make Spanish rice and the reason being that she makes it better.”
Society would claim 345 Wooster Avenue as a neighborhood that has gone to waste. The white picket fence is now metal and all of the grass has been covered by cement. I doubt my Nana’s roses are ever in bloom. The house is currently on the market, it’s hard to believe my memories are now for sale.
I miss you every moment of every day. I hope to be a Nana someday. I hope to have a house, to create a sanctuary. I hope my rose garden blooms. I hope I get to see you again someday. I love you Nana.
Storyteller Deanna “Deni” Consuelo Sisneros is a passionate Chicana, a student, an educator, and familia-oriented.